In order to fulfil its aims MUSA has put in place a wide range of programmes.
Social Work Services
MUSA’s social work programme seeks to intervene on behalf of the elderly that are afflicted with poverty, social injustice, violation of human rights and physical or emotional abuse. We have a team that consists of a highly professional Social worker who is assisted by Social Auxiliary Workers. Paralegal advisors assist with issues that require legal input.
Our Social worker, far left, and staff members giving away school uniforms as part of our School Uniform Project.
Older persons engage in skills sharing and educational talks as part of our Service centre activities
Most of our services are delivered at the service centre. The service centres also act as bases and resources centres and brings together people for activities such as:-
- Physical exercises
- Mid-day meals
- Educational talks
- Democracy education
- Recreational activities and competitions
- Skills training and sharing
- Crafts activities
Home Based Health Care
Common health problems afflicting the elderly include poor physical condition, failing mental health, arthritis, diabetes, tuberculosis and malnutrition caused by poverty and cardiovascular disorders e.g. heart attack, hypertension and strokes. They need regular health checks and medical attention. Access to health services is often limited by lack of transport and the means to pay at private institutions. MUSA tries to bridge this gap by providing assistance where possible through home visits by care givers where they will engage in all aspects of personal hygiene, physiotherapy, exercises, and help with household chores including preparation of food. They also help with transport to and from clinics and/or hospitals and collect medication for them.
Our Home Based Health Care has recently collaborated with the Department of Health with the aim of assisting the elderly. In Lamontville, older persons are now able to get prescribed medication from our service centre. This not only means that they cut out going to the local clinic and hospital on a monthly basis; it also means that medication can be delivered to the older persons in the area. Older persons only need to visit public health facilities for re-prescriptions and/or evaluation.
In the Clermont area, we have been approached by Medi-post. Muthande Society for the Aged will now deliver medication to older persons around the Clermont, KwaDabeka, KK and Italy areas at a set rate per medication delivered. This will strengthen the relationship the organization already has with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of health but most importantly, it will enable us to reach a larger scale of older persons needing our assistance in these areas.
Caregivers assisting an older person during a Home Care visit
Our Facilitator during a Capacity Building session with family members of older persons affected by Dementia/ Alzheimers
Capacity Building for Family Members and Care Givers
Older people, especially those with mental health problems, are sometimes misunderstood by their care givers. This in some cases leads to abuse, mental, emotional or physical as well neglect.
To tackle this Muthande realized that family members and other care givers needed training and support in dealing with difficult cases and situations. A programme to meet this challenge was developed and it has helped communities understand issues around ageing, health of the elderly as well as their needs. The society also now appreciates the role being played by the elderly with regards to the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic which has gripped South Africa for a number of decades now. Family members and care givers are trained in:
- Personal care and hygiene
- Mental health issues and ageing
- Nutrition in old age
- Basic diabetes management
- Surviving stroke
- Basic hypertension management
- Care for amputees
- Basic human rights
- Attitudes towards ageing
- Counselling is also provided.
The literacy programme was initiated in 1996 and targets those 60 years old and above. The aim of the programme is to:
- Teach the illiterate to read and write
- Empower them with the necessary literacy skills applicable in their everyday lives
- Apply the acquired knowledge and skills to attain some degree of independence
By the year 2000, the programme had had 18 out 25 successful graduates of the Independent Examinations Board. A book, “Isigubhu Sezimanga Nezinye Izindaba” (The Power of the Drum and Other Stories), consisting of 11 short stories written by graduates of the programme has been published and is sold at the University of Natal
Some of the Educators in the programme are retired Teachers.
Traditional Health Practitioners were educated on HIV/AIDS, this ensured that people recieved the correct information about the disease when consulting with THPs
The HIV/AIDS programme was commissioned in 2001. The main objective of the programme is to:
- Raise awareness and educate the elderly about HIV/AIDS
- Promote voluntary counselling and HIV/AIDS testing among the elderly
- Advocate on behalf of the elderly looking after victims of HIV/AIDS
- Refer elderly sufferers of HIV/AIDS, children being looked after by their elderly parents, grandchildren or orphans, to the appropriate services for assistance
- Equip the elderly with skills, advice and support in looking after orphaned children
Working with Traditional Health Practitioners
From 2008, Muthande adopted an innovative approach in its fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. With support from our partners and affiliates, MUSA worked closely with Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs). Traditional Health Practitioners are usually the first port of call for a large section of the population, especially from the poorer sections of society. By imparting the right HIV/AIDS information and knowledge to the THPs, MUSA played a significant role in making sure that people received the correct information and advice on HIV/AIDS. MUSA consults and shares information with THPs during consultative meetings and workshops run by the society and its partners.
- MUSA provides transport service to older persons to take them to clinics and hospitals for medical check-ups, re-assessments or to the chemists or hospital dispensaries to collect their medication.
- Our transport service assists the frail who need to visit Home Affairs or SASSA offices for identity documents and pension applications or reassessments.
Caregivers accompany the elderly for their clinic and/or hospital visits
This service was introduced to address the challenges of abuse and violation of rights faced by older people. There are two staff members, who were trained in Paralegal Practice through the Community Law and Rural development Centre, in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.
Through the programme, and the assistance of Strauss Daly, we were able to introduce the creation of Wills to older persons. The wills were written under the guidance of Lawyers at Strauss Daly and was done at no cost to the older persons and/or organization.